It’s the 4th July Independence Day edition of WWE Smackdown Live, from Phoenix, Arizona.
John Cena returns to kick off the show. John says the United States after 241 years is defended by all walks of life, and they live the American Dream. Cena says he wants to compete with the best every single time he steps in a ring. Cena says other superstars say he has sold out and he’s a part timing mascot. Cena says he’s not a part timer, he’s an all timer whether it’s RAW or Smackdown. John says he’s going to in a blaze of glory. Cena lists all the men talking about him and says he’ll knock every one of them down. Cena says the Franchise is back! Rusev comes out to confront Cena. Rusev says he works so hard he got hurt in the ring while Cena was playing Hollywood. He says the American Dream is a lie and America is a joke. Cena tells Rusev to line up so he can punch him in the mouth. Rusev calls Independence Day pathetic. Cena tells the Universe to forget Rusev. Cena says Americans aren’t afraid to fight what they believe in. Cena challenges Rusev to a Flag Match. Rusev says they’ll fight on his terms as Cena calls him a coward before leading the Universe in a “USA” chant.
Daniel Bryan talks to Gable and Styles in his office, he says he’s sick of KO complaining. Bryan tells them Owens doesn’t want them in the Battle Royal so he proposes Chad Gable vs AJ Styles and the winner advances to the Battle Royal. Both men agree.
Chad Gable vs AJ Styles
Gable takes early control with his Greco-Roman style of wrestling. AJ catches Gable with a big dropkick square in the face. Back from the break as Gable meets Styles up on the top rope. Styles knocks him down, but he’s right back as AJ slips away. Gable takes down Styles as he tries for the Phenomenal Forearm. AJ takes control as he attempts the Styles Clash but Gable counters into the Ankle Lock. AJ fights out but both men battle back and forth with the sequence ending a German Suplex from Gable. Styles stuns his opponent with the Pele Kick, but he’s unable to capitalise. AJ catches Gable with the Phenomenal Forearm. AJ Styles wins via Pinfall.
Zack Ryder questions Mojo about last week and tells him they need to put last week’s loss behind them. He tells Mojo they’re both in the Independence Day Battle Royal.
Carmella and James Ellsworth make their way to the ring for the Carmellabration. Ellsworth says the Carmellabration is way more important than Independence Day. Carmella laughs and mocks the Universe and tells them they can’t always get what they want. Carmella says she gets to pick when and where she’ll defeat Naomi and she’s interrupted by the Champion. Naomi reminds Carmella that she’s the Smackdown Women’s Champion and says she isn’t scared because her eyes are always open. Naomi tells James “Ellsworthless” someone wants a word with him and out comes the GM. He questions what exactly he’ll do with him and says he knows exactly what he’s going to do. He bars Ellsworth from the arena. Ellsworth jokes with Daniel but then he gets fined $10,000 and then suspends him for 30 days without pay. Bryan says if Ellsworth breaks those rules, he’ll strip Carmella of the Money In The Bank briefcase.
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Naomi vs Lana
Naomi immediately locks Lana in a modified Rings of Saturn. Naomi wins via Submission. Tamina comes out and tells Lana to get up, as they leave the ring.
Shinsuke Nakamura is interviewed backstage and Corbin attacks him from behind, but Nakamura fights back and the two men get separated.
John Cena vs Rusev is announced for Battleground.
Rap Battle: New Day vs The Usos
Wale hosts the rap battle. The Usos come out with quite the following. New Day come or with their own entourage. Big E starts first from New Day. The Usos go next and they seem to have rattled their challengers. They take major shots at Woods for his recent porno leak. Kofi goes next with an awful attempt that sounds more like lame poetry. Kofi redeems himself slightly at the end. The Usos go again as they rip it out of Kofi saying he wasn’t Jamaican, he was Jafaican. They point out Wale might be biased. Woods goes next again a poor attempt, why is WWE pushing New Day so much. They highlight Jimmy would be nothing without his wife. Woods tell them they need to go back to doing what they do best, carrying bags for Roman, the fight breaks out and Wale Disqualifies The Usos. New Day win the Rap Battle, what a joke.
Randy Orton vs Aiden English
Orton’s entrance cuts short Aiden’s song and English attacks him with the mic before the bell and then continues his attack on the outside. As we go to the break, Aiden continues his song inside the ring. Orton has control of the match as we return from the break, as he stalks English to the outside. Orton beats down his opponent on the outside. He hits the Hangman’s DDT off the table onto the floor. Orton hits his opponent with the steel steps and carries on to beat him down and finally hits him with an RKO. Aiden English wins via DQ.
Jinder Mahal makes his way out with the Singh Brothers. Mahal calls the USA the home of prejudice and the land of ignorance, because they disrespect him. He points out that even with all the disrespect he’s still WWE Champion. Mahal says he’s going to destroy Orton’s legacy at Battleground. Orton cuts him off and says Jinder has no advantage as nobody will be able to help in the Punjabi Prison Match. Randy says nobody likes Jinder because he’s a jackass.
Tyler Breeze in disguise, interviews Tye Dillinger ask what his strategy is for the Battle Royal.
Renee Young interviews Maria & Mike Kanellis. Maria says love is undeniable and timeless. Everybody wants love but not everyone gets it. Mike goes on about how beautiful his wife is and once again they’re sort of interrupted by Sami Zayn who apologises for the intrusion and says he’s a fan of their message.
Independence Day Battle Royal
A very action packed Battle Royal with some main event stars, but it’s mostly mid-carders in there. Kevin Owens watches on from commentary. The final three ends up with AJ Styles, Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger. They go at it with Dillinger taking control. Tye tries to eliminate both men, but they both hang on. Zayn eliminates Tye Dillinger. The final two trade blows as Zayn takes control. Zayn misses the Helluva Kick and almost sends himself over the top. Zayn tries to suplex Styles over the top but a Pele Kick sends Sami to floor. AJ Styles wins the Battle Royal.
Owens tries to attack Styles but AJ fights back and KO scurries away as he escapes the Styles Clash. AJ holds the US Title as the show comes to a close.
Not much happened to be honest, very boring average Smackdown and I can’t actually pick a talking point. The Rap Battle was disappointing and so were the matches to be honest. I’m going to give Smackdown Live 4/10.